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Hi, Underalms! Thanks for your post. I wish you had called me for the numbers!

I will post the numbers on our blog - unfortunately they are off. Would I love to throw a shindig for that mauch! We are the best deal in town -- and make do on almost half that.

We believe that bringing a community together is hugely valuable for building exactly what you are calling for -- a vibrant and lively network of people in IT in nonprofits. We host online events, webinars, calls, more than 80 online groups, and local events all year round - so once a year we love to see everyone come together. It is a good way to cement and augment all of the relationships made online during the year. There really is -- even in our networked age -- no substitute for getting together.

I'd be happy to discuss with you -- but I think your criticism is not quite fair.

On one other note: We will be doing our share to offset carbon and plant as many trees as we can afford - as a small token to what it will take to get everyone there.

My direct number is 413 687 9877 -- please give me ring anytime!


Executive Director


I've been attending NTC Conferences since 2000 - when they were called Circuit Rider Conferences. And, while I communicate regularly with colleagues via all the listserves, my most important contacts, learnings, and connections in the hallways, in sessions, at parties, in the bar, jogging, -- face-to-face. While yes, the Internet and meeting virtually keeps us connected, it can't replace face-to-face interaction.

Dave Chakrabarti

This is crucial: "The barriers now are ones of communication and attitude within the nonprofits themselves."

It is precisely to break down these barriers that we congregate; change must come from within the system. Someday, it may be possible to "network" as effectively on the virtual world, and then it will become pointless to attend a conference such as this...and the conferences will vanish. But until then, it is (ironically, in light of your post) elitist to hold such events online, when most nonprofit organizations have no tech staffs are are nowhere *near* the level of technology usage they should be. They'd be preaching to the choir.

I'm a nonprofit techie, and despite living and working in the realm of emerging web technologies, I feel compelled to attend :) I've never been disappointed by the conferences I've attended (most recently the Media Reform conference in Memphis), and I'm looking forward to this one with a great deal of enthusiasm. Perhaps this is a sign that conferences don't play second fiddle to our online lives yet?

I'd invite you to attend NTEN this year if you can; you may find it a positive experience. As others have noted, the true value of networking over beers with likeminded activists from all over the world is incomparable.



Thanks for the post. I think it's good to air thought pieces like this, and it's good to keep our friends (hi Katrin!) on their toes.

But as someone who's been going to NTEN conferences for a few years now, I have to say that I think you owe yourself a trip to one of these conferences.

I think you're right that the NTEN conference doesn't have direct impact on people from a huge number of non-profits. But what I think you're missing is the massive impact it has on the community of folks who offer IT services to non-profits all over the country and, to a lesser extent, the world. The connections made there, on both the people-to-people and people-to-ideas fronts, are huge. There have been many, many jobs landed (including mine) because of these events, and many, many changes made to the way 501 techies approach their work.

I don't think these conferences are or ever have been perfect, but I do think there's huge value to them.


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Shame on United Way. It's time to dump this outmoded form of philanthropy and look to new

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